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It’s a pretty stunning number: $679 million.
According to the San Diego County Grand Jury, that’s how much the county has saved through outsourcing, managed competition and other cost-cutting strategies. A grand jury report implies that the savings came over 16 months in 2007 and 2008.
The Union-Tribune adapted the statistic in an editorial bashing the city for failing to more fully embrace outsourcing.
But there’s a problem with using that number for the 16-month period: It’s just plain wrong.
As we show in our latest Fact Check post, the savings actually refers to the period from 1998 to 2008.
The grand jury’s forewoman responded to us with this head-scratcher: “I stand by what was written in the report. I have no response to give you, to correct or deny.”
In other news:
• The names are in, finally: the San Diego school board has named its three superintendent finalists: the district’s current interim top boss, a former Northern California district superintendent and a nonprofit leader from Oakland.
• Most members of the City Council have supported the schoobrary project, and the mayor does too. But there’s a wrinkle: opponents could still scuttle part of the plan. That could put the project in a tight spot.
• As we report: “San Diego County’s pension fund is considering creating a separate nonprofit to manage its investments, which would allow it to avoid county salary rules and perhaps legally outsource internal staff to a private consultant.”
• As we’ve reported, contractors hired by the city’s housing agency may have wrongly dumped lead-contaminated debris in the Miramar Landfill, where it doesn’t belong. Yesterday, the Housing Commission’s CEO declared there’s no evidence of any illegal dumping.
But, as we note in a new post, that’s not the entire story: “the commission doesn’t have evidence that its contractors doing lead paint remediation projects legally dumped waste. It doesn’t know either way, and it should. And that’s why this is an issue to begin with.”
• Our resident number-cruncher and chart enthusiast Rich Toscano explains why new foreclosures are down but, in another sense, still way up.
• Yesterday’s Morning Report linked to a Fact Check about Councilman Carl DeMaio’s “Managed Competition Clock” and said it has to do with “outsourcing.” Well, guess what: now I’ve been fact-checked myself (It burns! It burns!) and the verdict is “misleading” at best and “false” at worst: managed competition can lead to outsourcing, but they’re not the same thing.
If the city outsources, it hires outside companies to do the city’s work. Managed competition means the city would allow outside companies to bid against city departments for projects.
Remember that. I know I will.
• The NCT says the Vista school board is considering an unprecedented move to allow Latinos to have more power in the district: today it will discuss electing board members by subdistrict.
Our post links to our earlier coverage on the topic. And as we note, “the push has countywide implications because it was spurred by a legal challenge elsewhere in California that could spur school districts to change their election systems. Vista may only be the first school district to alter how its board is elected.”
• A 55-year-old man died in Encinitas after being attacked by a swarm of bees. This is very unusual in the county, an insect expert told the NCT.
• A local Veterans Administration employee gave members of the U.S House an earful this week at a hearing about problems in the VA. Speaking on behalf of a labor group, she said firings are routine and relations between bosses and employees have become more “hostile” than under the Bush Administration. (nextgov.com)
• The U-T is going after county Supervisor Ron Roberts, writing that for the third straight day, he “declined to answer questions about a recurring re-election campaign flap. Instead his office made up its own questions — and answered them.”
A spokesman told the U-T reporter that any questions must come in written form before an interview. The spokesman was “told that was unacceptable and frankly bad form for a 16-year incumbent like Roberts.”
Boom goes the dynamite! The U-T has struggled with finding the proper tone for reporter dispatches in a new age of blogs and tweets. This post suggests the paper might be adding some zing to its news coverage. Here’s one vote for keeping it up.
• Also at the U-T: journalists expect to hear any day now about the major reorganization of the paper’s newsroom; they already know who the top editors will be. Yet another round of layoffs seems certain, and employees have already gotten pink slips in other departments of the paper.
The U-T newsroom is definitely doing some other hiring even amid anticipated cutbacks: it wants to bring on “junior staff writers.” The job description puts it this way: the writers “under supervision, will research and write news and straight forward short stories with low level of complexity, analysis and narrative, in accordance with identified style and structure. . .”
There’s nothing in the description about whether the new hires will be allowed to sit at the grown-up table at lunch.
• The Bleacher Report blog says baseball player Sammy Sosa’s disastrous 2004 sneeze in the stadium locker room here counts as “one of the 10 dumbest sports injuries ever.”
The sneeze was “enough so to cause back spasms and land him a spot on the injured list,” the blog says.
Imagine if he’d had a few fish tacos while at the stadium: the heartburn could have put him out for the entire year.